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Historian to teach European leaders course this fall

Media Contact

John Carberry
Andrew Roberts

Eminent historian Andrew Roberts will offer a course at Cornell this fall as the inaugural Merrill Visiting Professor in History. His lecture course, Great European Leaders of the 19th and 20th Centuries and their Influence on History, will investigate the roles of 12 influential figures, including Napoleon, Stalin, Churchill and Thatcher.

The visiting professorship is made possible by the Merrill family, who also support the annual Merrill Presidential Scholars Program and provided major funding for Cornell’s Merrill Family Sailing Center.

The late Philip Merrill ’55 was a publisher, diplomat, Cornell trustee and presidential councillor. He and his wife, Eleanor, firmly believed that all Cornell students should have a strong grounding in history, the American political tradition, and the humanities more broadly.

The Merrills’ three children – Douglas Merrill ’89, MBA ’91, Catherine Merrill Williams ’91, and Nancy Merrill ’96 – along with their mother, endowed the visiting professorship to inspire a campuswide dialogue about issues of historical importance.

“Andrew Roberts is a renowned historian lauded internationally for his scholarship on leadership. His course on modern European political leaders is a wonderful way to launch the Merrill Family Visiting Professorship in History,” says Barry Strauss, professor of history. “I am grateful to the Merrill family for their thoughtful generosity, which will make this extraordinary opportunity available to students from across the university.”

Roberts will also present a public lecture for the Cornell community on a date to be determined.

He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge and is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the International Napoleonic Society. He reviews history books for more than a dozen newspapers and periodicals in the United Kingdom and the United States. He writes political commentary for The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and other publications, and has written award-winning histories of English-speaking peoples since 1900 and of World War II. He is currently at work on a biography of Napoleon.

Emily Sanders Hopkins is a writer for Alumni Affairs and Development.